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It was his last fit of indecision. Antony's answer to the speech of September 2nd (the 'first Philippic'), delivered on the 19th, determined Cicero's course. The second Philippic was never delivered, and for some time was only communicated to friends, but it made all compromise impossible, and finally decided Cicero's position in the struggle that was coming on. The defeat and death of Antony, he declares over and over again, is now the one thing necessary: the cardinal error of the assassins was having spared him, From this time till August of the following year Cicero is the leading spirit in the Senate, to whom the various commanders engaged report their actions and apply for counsel and aid. Soon after January 1, B.C. 43, one of the consuls— Hirtius-left the city to relieve Decimus Brutus, who, having refused to hand over his province of Cisalpine Gaul, was being besieged by Antony in Mutina. He was followed towards the end of March by the other consul Pansa with another force, the young Octavian having already raised an army independently, and gone to the seat of war with the exc post facto approval of the Senate. The nominal head of the State in these circumstances was the city prætor Cornutus; but Cicero's fiery eloquence swayed the Senate, and the Senate, as usual in time of war and in the absence of the consuls, was the chief executive body. He keeps up a constant correspondence with the various provincial commanders on whom the Senate relied, exhorting, encouraging, or criticising them. In every direction he is equally eager, alert, and urgent. At one time he writes letter after letter to Decimus Brutus urging him to pursue and crush Antony in Gaul; at another he addresses Cornificius in Africa, on whom the Senate depended for a despatch of legions to Italy; at another he exercises all his art of persuasion and flattery to induce Plancus and Lepidus to remain loyal. At the same time he seems to have been maintaining a correspondence with Octavian, unfortunately not preserved, by which he hoped to keep him in the service of the Senate. We have letters to and from Cassius, who was in Syria resisting Dolabella, declared a public enemy after the murder of Trebonius, showing that Cicero was equally attentive to affairs there. He also kept up an almost continuous correspondence with Marcus Brutus in Macedonia. Two books, which probably constituted the ninth book of a large collection-remain of the letters to and from Marcus Brutus. Our editors are earnest champions of their genuineness. For a long time, however, the controversy between
and Caletters to anentury ant must haisa rhetorenuinenesa
Middleton, Tunstall, and Markland, in the eighteenth century, was believed to have established their spuriousness, which was assumed by Niebuhr with some hesitation, and by Drumann and Orelli with confidence. It is only since 1845 that the other side has been taken by German scholars; and finally 0. E. Schmidt, Cobet, and Gurlitt have on several grounds established their authenticity to the satisfaction of most scholars, except in the case of i. 16, 17, the two letters to Cicero and Atticus in which M. Brutus inveighs against Cicero for his concessions to Octavian. Our editors are inclined to defend even these. In this it is difficult to follow them. The letter to Cicero especially (i. 16) is certainly unworthy of Brutus, and inferior to others attri. buted to him; and it is not easy to point to any known conjuncture of circumstances with which it will exactly tally. On the other hand, Plutarch certainly refers to a document very like it, though with some doubt as to its genuineness. We must therefore conclude that, if it is a rhetorical exercise and not a genuine letter, it must have been composed as early as the first century A.D.
The letters to and from Decimus Brutus, Plancus, Lepidus, and Cassius lead us up to the catastrophe. All Cicero's hopes were one after the other frustrated. The defeat of Antony at Mutina (April 15–21) proved of little consequence. He executed a masterly retreat to Vado, a few miles north of Genoa, and, having been joined and reinforced by Ventidius Bassus, made his way into Gallia Narbonensis. On May 29 Lepidus, after many tergiversations, joined Antony. Plancus, though he had been joined by Decimus Brutus, did the same not many weeks afterwards, under the advice of Pollio, who had come north from Bætica. Decimus Brutus, deserted by his troops, after vainly attempting to escape to Macedonia, was arrested by a Gallic chief, and put to death by Antony's order. Cassius was far away in Syria; Marcus Brutus showed no sign of coming over from Macedonia. Cornificius, indeed, sent two legions from Africa, but almost on the day of their arrival Octavian entered Rome at the head of an army. Cornutus, the city prætor and nominal head of the State, killed himself when these legions submitted to Octavian, who now had no difficulty in obtaining the Senate's sanction to his election to the consulship with his cousin, Q. Pedius. It was all over. For a moment, indeed, there was a gleam of hope. News arrived that the fourth legion and the Martia had deserted Octavian, and Cicero hastily collected the Senators in the
He execute and, have his way tergiver
evening to discuss the possibility of resistance. But the conference was dispersed by the discovery that the rumour was false. There was nothing left for Cicero but to make pitiful submission to Octavian-received with ironic courtesy - and to disappear to the privacy of Tusculum.
We know almost nothing of Cicero's life between this day in August and his murder in December. When Octavian, despatched as consul at the head of an army to oppose Antony, made terms with him and the other commanders who had joined him, and agreed to the appointment of the • three commissioners for the resettlement of the State,' Cicero must have known that his fate was sealed. Antony would never tolerate the author of the Philippics. Octavian's panegyrists afterwards affirmed that he only assented to the proscriptions with reluctance; but even if that were so, they had to confess that having once embarked upon them he was for carrying them out with vigour; and he had had reason to understand how little he could reckon on Cicero's friendship. The epigram as to complimenting, decorating, 'and-getting rid of' this young man had reached his ears, and he would have little scruple in leaving him to his fate, though in after-years he could afford to speak of him as a great man and a great patriot.
Our estimate of Cicero should not rest upon one or other episode in his life, but on his whole career; and his character must be judged by the standard of his age and contemporaries. Looked at in this light it cannot but shine with remarkable purity and brilliance. As a statesman it is easy to criticise his indecision, his changes of policy, his mistaken estimates of men. But through them all he kept steadily in view as his one guiding light the freedom of the Roman State. To this he was ready to sacrifice, and did actually sacrifice, his life. It is easy again to criticise him as a philosopher. Yet no other Roman, before or after him, did so much to spread the knowledge of Greek philosophy, which had become to the cultivated class the only resource against pure negation of moral law, now that the religion of their fathers had become incredible. As an orator he was not only the best, but the only one whose speeches succeeding generations have cared to preserve. He created a Latin style which has been the model and the despair of all subsequent writers. In private life, with the exception of his divorce—which, however, was a matter of little account in his day-he showed almost every amiable and delightful quality. No accusation of cruelty, greed, or
treachery ever attached to his name. In circumstances of exceptional difficulty he showed the fluctuations and hesitations inseparable from a nature so quick, sensitive, and versatile; but when the crisis came his fears were at an end, and he acted with resolution and cheerfulness as his conscience bade him act. Of no man of Republican Rome do we know as much as of Cicero; of no man do we know so much that is good and so little that is evil.
ART. IX.-1. Correspondance Complète de Madame du Deffand
avec la Duchesse de Choiseul, l'Abbé Barthélemy et Monsieur Craufort. Publiée avec une Introduction par Monsieur le Marquis de SAINTE-AULAIRE. Troisième édition. Paris :
Calmann Lévy, 1877. 2. Le Président Hénault et Madame du Deffand. Par
L. PEREY. Paris : Calmann Lévy, 1893. 3. Figures de Femmes. Par PAUL DESCHANELS, Député.
Deuxième édition. Paris : Calmann Lévy, 1889. 4. Causeries du Lundi. Vol. I. Par C. A. SAINTE-BEUVE.
Paris : Garnier, 1850. 5. Essais sur l'Histoire de la Littérature Française. Par
J. J. WEISS. Quatrième édition. Paris : Calmann Lévy,
1891. 6. Etudes sur la Littérature Contemporaine. Par EDMOND
SCHERER. Paris : Calmann Lévy, 1885. 7. Histoire de la Langue et de la Littérature Française des
Origines à 1900. Publiée sous la direction de L. PETIT DE JULLEVILLE, Professeur à la Faculté des Lettres de l'Université de Paris. Vol. VII. Paris : Armand Colin et
Cie, 1898. 8. Le Dix-huitième Siècle : les moeurs, les arts, les idées, récits et
témoignages contemporains. Paris : Hachette et Cie, 1900. By an irony of fate it is often not those who have taken
o the most active and prominent share in their time who are remembered by posterity, but they who have had next to no influence on the current of events. The names of many of the leading politicians and writers of France in the eighteenth century are now almost unknown, whilst some brilliant women who never wrote a book and never upset a minister appear to live with a vitality which has even a tendency to increase. It may be that this arises to some extent because they are types, and whether in history or in fiction it is the typical character that lives. And there is another thing to be said of Madame du Deffand, who is undoubtedly such a woman as we have described-she is so uncommon. There is a monotony of character about leading figures in the political or the literary world which drives the average reader to the novel-writer for refreshment; but if he can find a man or woman in real life who strikes by contrast with commonplace people, such a person at once